Jets drop Morristown in duel of top scorers

MORRISTOWN — Hauser’s Alex Gross and Morristown’s Hayden Langkabel put on a show in Friday night’s Mid-Hoosier Conference game at Morristown.

Langkabel dropped 29 points and eight rebounds, but Gross’ game-high 30 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks helped propel the Jets to a 72-65 win.

Both players started the game by trading buckets in the opening quarter. They combined for 23 of the total 35 points scored between the two teams.

“Langkabel is amazing,” Gross said, “I’ve played against him in some showcases and some college stuff. He’s really good. It was just fun. This is a big conference game. We were just both competing really hard, and luckily we got the last of it.”

The Yellow Jackets (2-1, 0-1) had a five-point lead after the first quarter, but Hauser (3-1, 1-0) took a 36-35 halftime lead on a buzzer-beating 3-point shot by Justin Compton, who grabbed game-high 14 rebounds to go with his 10 points.

Gross followed his 10-point first quarter with another 10 points in the second. The Jets were able to hold Langkabel to just three second quarter points after the Marion commit scored 13 in the first half.

Gross continued to stay consistent by scoring another eight points in the third quarter to help keep the Jets out in front. Back-to-back 3-pointers allowed Hauser to create a little distance midway through the third quarter.

The Jets had a 42-41 lead before Mason Sherman knocked down a 3-pointer, followed by another one from Matt Sweet to put them up by seven. Hauser also held Langkabel to a five-point third quarter after switching to a zone in the second half.

“We were trying to switch up defenses to try and slow him down a little bit because we can’t guard him one-on-one,” Hauser coach Griff Roth said. “He’s a great ball player.”

The Jets were holding on to a five-point lead to start the fourth before extending the margin to 10. Gross had one basket in the final eight minutes, but it was Sherman’s nine-point fourth quarter that helped bring home the win. Sherman hit two of his three 3-pointers in the final quarter and ended with 14 points.

“Mason is a very very good basketball player, and when he plays within himself he is a great basketball player,” Roth said. “When he hits those 3s, it just brings the momentum up, and the guys start following him and it opens up the middle a little bit for Alex.”

Mason’s two 3-pointers helped Hauser go on a 12-0 run to take a 14-point lead. The Yellow Jackets battled back to go on a 9-0 run of their own to cut the lead to five with 29 seconds remaining.

Morristown was forced to foul down the stretch. The Jets hit only 2 of 6 free throws in the final quarter, but that was good enough to hold on.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.